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Title: Shelter Beneath the Mundane (I'm Gonna Fade Away Remix)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] dea_liberty
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Rating: PG
Summary: Sam began his day’s routine, same as yesterday, same as tomorrow would follow.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: Written for [livejournal.com profile] spn_remix, originally posted here. This is a remix of [livejournal.com profile] drvsilla's amazing Shelter Beneath the Mundane. My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] waterofthemoon the amazing beta.

Sam began his day’s routine, same as yesterday, same as tomorrow would follow. Eyes open first, senses extending and checking. Moving next out of the corner of Hell he’s hidden in, wiping all traces of his being there, and going through the fire, searching. Always searching. All things where they should be – people suffering, hanging, screaming, all in their own corners, their own carved worlds in efforts to survive, demons there just because.



Sam began his day’s routine, same as yesterday, same as tomorrow would follow. Eyes open first, senses extending and checking. Moving next out of the corner of Hell he’s hidden in, wiping all traces of his being there, and going through the fire, searching. Always searching. All things where they should be – people suffering, hanging, screaming, all in their own corners, their own carved worlds in efforts to survive, demons there just because.

He missed Dean, ached for him, spent every waking and sleeping moment trying to breathe through it – to imagine it as an annoying tickle. Ignore it, and it’ll go away.

Hell was endless, and Sam had no idea what kind of life Dean had made for himself to cope. So he searched every inch, nook and cranny, under every rock – figurative and not, mind-made and real – eased his way into every soul’s damnation, checking, wanting.

It had been over a year – that much, Sam knew – but he had no idea how much time had really passed. There were no days in Hell, no nights, just time passing, fast and slow and irregular. It had been over a year of slipping under the radar, of always concentrating, always working hard not to be noticed.

He stepped out of the garage where the mechanic’s work was never done, the car he was working on never ran smoothly because something was always broken, and had to redirect yet another demon.

Someone whose coping mechanism involved male strippers, karaoke, and a night that never turned into day came next. Behind the counter at that seedy almost-bar, settled where no one would notice him, Sam curled up and closed his eyes.

* * *

Sam began his day’s routine, same as yesterday, same as tomorrow would follow. Eyes open first, senses extending and checking – and stuttering, stopping to check again. There was something there, something almost familiar. Moving next, out of the corner of Hell he’s hidden in, wiping all traces of his being there, and going through the fire, searching. Always searching. All things where they should be – people suffering, hanging, screaming, all in their own corners, their own carved worlds in efforts to survive, demons there just because.

He missed Dean, ached for him, spent every waking and sleeping moment trying to breathe through it – to imagine it as an annoying tickle. Ignore it, and hope (pray) it went away.

He turned the almost-corner and found himself in a bar, dark and smoky. Blank shadows watched a man on the stage, playing the blues and singing low and raspy. The audience sat completely still, just staring blankly, never moving, never twitching, and the man played on for nothing and no one.

Sam watched for a moment and listened, the first real audience in seventy years, before he slid out the door and into a workroom where a man sat and drew and drew and drew. Sam recognized him somewhere in the back of his mind, like he knew the songs of the man before, like he knew the face of the woman that came next.

She couldn’t protect herself. She couldn’t construct a world around the things she’d had, the things she’d wanted, hadn’t had enough happiness or memories or hope to carry her through – hadn’t had enough time with the things that mattered. She just screamed and screamed, day after night after day.

This was Hell.

Routine, normal – same as yesterday, same as tomorrow would be.

* * *

Ava’s hands were always stained with blood. Lady Macbeth had nothing on the woman he’d known once. She killed her husband every night, eyes seeing nothing but the life bleeding out of him – killed him the way she’d killed all those other people, the special children, the chosen ones. The heavyweight champion that would spend eternity killing the only thing that might have saved her soul.

Bela’s door shut behind her father every night. Sam didn’t stay to watch, didn’t want to know.

What happened yesterday and what would happen tomorrow… that didn’t interest him. Not now. Routine was overrated, and for the last eighteen months, routine was Hell.

One more step forward, and there he was.

Their eyes met, locked. He looked exactly the same, gorgeous and familiar and amazing, and Sam ached for him – and Dean stumbled backwards into the shop and disappeared.

* * *

There were donuts. Icing and those tiny colored sprinkles, carefully arranged off to the side. Their donuts from another lifetime, another world altogether, where Dean curled his hands around Sam’s own as he helped him decorate them. Ended up with more on their fingers and lips and each other than on the donuts.

Dean stood behind the counter, staring at him with no hint of recognition, which made Sam ache. He told himself to treat it like a tickle – ignore it and pretend it went away.

Nancy, Sheriff Devins, and Jake came and went as Sam watched Dean trying not to panic, routine interrupted, everything thrown out of order by his appearance. Sam knew – could guess – that every day was the same. Today the same as yesterday, same as tomorrow should be.

But wouldn’t be.
He let his fingers brush over Dean’s as he took the plate, slipped away far enough to settle into one of the chairs in the corner, then sat and watched until the last of Dean’s customers vanished out into the almost-road. Waited until Dean asked him to leave, watched Dean finish his day.

Found his own little corner to hide in, to rest, for Dean’s night.

* * *

Sam began a new routine: wake up, eyes opening and checking, hiding and evading demons, then dropping in to see Dean – always at a different time, always buying two donuts. He shouldn’t have expected Hell to make it easy on him.

Shouldn’t have expected Dean’s mind to make it easy for them. Nineteen months was a long time, and while Hell was endless, time had no meaning here, and Dean had had to live in the fire and keep his soul from getting burned.

He watched Dean’s world crumbling, watched Hell squeeze around Dean’s fantasy, watched the fire start licking at the almost-walls and the darkness eating the almost-streets. The people they knew, lost and lost to, started wavering, their not-quite-selves unable to adapt to the newness, the lack of routine. Spontaneity wasn’t something this Hell could deal with.

“Come outside,” he said one day, standing in the doorway and holding out a hand. “Come have lunch somewhere with me.”

The routine was crumbling – everything about this safe haven was falling apart – but Dean was clinging on tight, trying to keep it all together and deny change. Sam understood and didn’t resent him for it. He’d spent enough time in this place, hopping from damnation to damnation, and knew souls found a way to cope or really, truly burned.

Dean had always been good at doing what needed to be done, especially when it was providing something for people who were in need. It had taken two days for Sam to realize what Dean had done, what this little corner of Hell contained.

Dean’s own sanctuary, as well as his own damnation – duty and helping other people.

And Sam knew what needed to be done.

* * *

Sam began his day’s routine, same as yesterday, same as tomorrow would follow. Eyes open first, senses extending – and fighting. Keeping them away from him, away from Dean, not letting them take him so far he can’t find the shop again, always finding moments (seconds, maybe, or sometimes more) to just watch and make sure.

He kept them away from Dean, stopping them from tearing everything apart and destroying this fantasy, from getting into Dean’s carefully constructed world to shred his consciousness. Just holding on tight and letting that ache become more than just a tickle reminded him what was at stake – what he had loved and lost and found again.

Eleven o’clock, and Dean didn’t lock the door. Sam didn’t hide, didn’t sleep, didn’t rest. He stormed up to the door and banged on it, then grabbed Dean and didn’t let go.

“Come with me,” he said.

"It's important that I stay. Might just be donuts and coffee, but people rely on that. My customers depend on me."

I depend on you, Sam thought. Instead, he said, “I know. What you did here was good, real good, but they won't be coming today.” He knew Dean needed to hear it, needed to have faith that Dean would believe him.

“Yes,” Dean said. “Go with you – yes. Okay.”

And then they ran.

* * *

They didn’t move. It was almost routine, but that was okay. They didn’t move.

Sam opened his eyes first, and then settled, sank into Dean, staying close and wrapped up in his brother. It had been two years.

Two years to tell each other about. Two years to make up for. Two years spent so alone. They didn’t move. Sam rubbed circles on Dean's hip with his thumb, and Dean’s hand rested on Sam's wrist. They stayed like that, curled close and finally resting, two worlds once more righted into one.

Date: 2008-10-26 04:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wait-dont-go.livejournal.com
Oh, wow.

This broke me, but I loved every single piece of it.

That last line? ♥~

Great work.

Date: 2008-11-04 06:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dea-liberty.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2008-10-26 04:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] batcat72.livejournal.com
What a beautiful, beautiful remix, just lovely.

Date: 2008-11-04 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dea-liberty.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!

Date: 2008-10-27 11:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] suejc3dogs.livejournal.com
Beautiful work.

Date: 2008-11-04 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dea-liberty.livejournal.com
Thank you!

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